[finnix] I'm sorry

Ryan Finnie ryan at finnie.org
Sat Oct 23 02:16:11 PDT 2010


I'm honestly sorry.  I know I haven't put anything into Finnix for the
last year, and I've been ignoring the mailing list.  And it's been
nagging at me for awhile now.

The explanation is I've been astronomically busy at my day job for the
better part of a year now, and I just haven't had the mental cycles to
put into Finnix.  Funny enough, while I haven't been developing
Finnix, I have been USING Finnix nearly every day so far this year.
Finnix is very useful to me, I know it's useful to a lot of you, and
it's not going away.  It's been around in one form or another for over
10 years now, and I think there will always be a use for it.  At the
very least, I have a stack of Finnix stickers lying around the house,
and they're of no use if there's no Finnix. :)

(Oh wow, what a coincidence.  While I have the original public release
date of Finnix memorized -- March 22, 2000 -- because I had to
reference it a number of times when originally filling out the
Trademark paperwork a few years ago, I didn't know when the release
date was of its first release after the original hiatus.  Turns out
Finnix 86.0 was released... October 23, 2005.  5 years ago today.
Happy birthday, "modern" Finnix!)

Anyway, today I sat down, dusted off the development machine s, and
got a preliminary update done to bring up to current Debian "testing".
 Now is actually a good time for a Finnix release, since Debian is in
the middle of a freeze.  I've been thinking about the future of Finnix
for awhile now, and have decided to announce a few changes.  So here's
the plan:

 - I'm dropping PowerPC support.  This is probably the hardest thing
for me to announce, since it was one of the things that made Finnix
niche/popular.  Heck, I own about 5 PowerPC machines myself.  But the
truth is, mainstream PowerPC died with Apple's switch to Intel, and
G3/G4/G5 machines are already relegated to "esoteric" status.  I'll
continue distributing Finnix-PPC 93.0 through finnix.org, and I'm sure
there will be one-off updates throughout the years, but PowerPC
support will no longer be a release goal.  One of the most difficult
and time-consuming pieces during a release cycle wasn't the the main
development, but instead building on slower PowerPC systems, and
making sure the PowerPC release matched the functionality of the x86
release before both could be released.  Finnix-PPC 93.0 will continue
to be useful as a recovery/maintenance distribution for awhile now, as
new hardware support is less of a concern these days.

 - The next version will be Finnix 100, and will continue in a simple
incremental fashion for future releases (101, 102, etc).  Major/minor
version numbers didn't make much sense to begin with, and skipping
from 93.0 to 100 will allow me to fulfill the official "There Will Be
No Finnix '95" rule/joke.

 - I will go through the mailing list archives and pick out what needs
to be done.  I know there were some discussions about bugs and
functionality improvements, and I will make sure they all get
addressed for the next release.

 - I'm shutting down the Finnix store indefinitely.  The main product
in the store was the printed CDs, and my photo CD printer has been out
of commission for awhile now.  While the CDs were beautiful, they
frankly never brought in many orders, and probably cost me more per CD
than I was charging.

 - Instead, I will be announcing a Sticker Exchange.  I've got a stack
of vinyl stickers that I occasionally reorder, and I like to give them
out.  In the future, you'll be able to send an
SASE/trinket/donation/etc, and get back a couple stickers.  They're
nice small stickers, 4.25 x 1.38", and they work well on computer
equipment[0x00] and water bottles[0x01].

 - If you are currently or have ever been on this mailing list, I want
to send you some free stickers now.  I'll even pay the postage.  It
doesn't matter if you have praised Finnix or yelled "Finnix sucks,
it's been abandoned", you deserve some schwag for sticking it out.
Just email me your address and I'll send you a couple stickers.

Looks like the next Finnix release will have Linux 2.6.32, which is
what Debian has upstream in testing/unstable.  While the benefit of
Debian being in a freeze is the userland is very stable, the downside
is the kernel is already a little out of date.  I'm spinning some
kernel builds as I type.  The CD will probably be rather large (by
Finnix standards) for the next immediate release; don't be surprised
if it's around 140MB.  The upstream userland and kernel like to grow
over time, and it takes a lot of manual weeding to keep the size down.
 The standing long-term goal is to keep Finnix under 185MB -- the size
of a mini-CD (not that anyone uses them anymore) -- but I would still
not like to have it grow that large.  I'll work on getting Finnix 100
out the door soon, then work on putting it on a diet for future
releases.

Thanks for sticking with me, guys and gals.  I promise I'll try to be
more active in the future.

RF

P.S.: Check out my latest "little" project, 2ping[0x02].  It's a
bi-directional ping utility that can figure out directional packet
loss, rather than just announcing "packet lost".

[0x00] http://www.flickr.com/photos/eythian/4970069531/
[0x01] http://www.flickr.com/photos/fo0bar/4799908828/
[0x02] http://www.finnie.org/software/2ping/



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